Former Convent Turned Bed and Breakfast Within Walking Distance of Newport’s Famed Mansions
When the building that would become the Admiral Fitzroy Inn was constructed in the 1850s, it not only served a different function—a convent for St. Mary’s Church—but was also in a different location. For years, the building was on Spring Street, just a few blocks from its current location. In 1986, it was broken down piece by piece, brought to the new location, and masterfully reconstructed. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Admiral Fitzroy Inn provides a bed-and-breakfast stay about a mile from the Gilded Age mansions at Newport’s famous Cliff Walk.
The inn’s 18 guest rooms, formerly the nuns’ quarters, greet guests with colorful, hand-painted borders and armoires. Despite the inn’s changes, it still possesses much of its original charm, confirmed by an elderly nun who returned to the inn. “She said that even after all these years, it had the same feeling as when she lived here,” says Angela Craig, the Admiral Fitzroy’s innkeeper.
Breakfast is served each morning in the sunny breakfast room, with walls painted in spring green. There you’ll find a European-style continental breakfast with freshly baked scones, sweet breads, fresh fruit, yogurt, and granola. The croissants are real treats, as they’re imported from France and baked fresh each morning.
Though guests are within walking distance of the Cliff Walk–access subject to weather conditions–and the mansions along Bellevue Avenue, Angela recommends driving to the mansions because the walk home can seem onerous and parking is ample. But if you’re more interested in dining and shopping, there’s plenty to do in the historic district around the hotel.
Newport, Rhode Island: Harbor Town with World-Famous Mansions
With its picturesque cliffs running along the rocky coast, Newport understandably attracted America’s upper class at the turn of the 20th century. The prestigious Astor and Vanderbilt families joined other captains of industry in building their “summer cottages” here, sprawling estates that epitomized the Gilded Age’s glitz and glamour. You can sign up for mansion tours at the historic The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House. Commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1893, The Breakers is a 70-room Italian Renaissance–style palazzo inspired by the palaces of Genoa and Turin.
Even in the fall and winter, the Cliff Walk is the most popular activity in town. You’ll find visitors strolling the 3.5-mile path, with the beautiful Newport shoreline and lighthouses on one side and the spectacular mansions on the other. When the water isn’t too cold, you might even see surfers catching waves on the ocean breakers.
The city slows its pace in winter, finding time to shop on Thames and Spring Streets or visit the city’s many museums. The town is home to the National Museum of American Illustration, which features works by Saturday Evening Post artist Norman Rockwell, as well as the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.
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